Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry, Mastering by Sam Patlove
After a number of months of patiently waiting and you all have been so patient today is the unleashing of the massive amount of taping that we took upon ourselves at our home away from home in Austin, Texas, to record for five long days at the South By Southwest festival in the middle of the month of March. We survived the warm temperatures, the soggy rains and the sneak attack of a second winter during the length of our stay there at Big Orange Studio, but we and all of the tapes survived all that Mother Nature could throw at us. We didnt plan on doing it this way, and it wont continue in such a precise order, but here youll find one of the very last recordings we made down there before shutting down, loading the van up and driving through the night, into a blinding snowstorm. The very last session that happened at SXSW this year was with Sam, Janet and Joanna of Quasi all of us bundled in our sweatshirts and coats, anything we had to throw on our arms and heads at just past dinnertime on the Saturday of the festival week. The previous evening ended with this session, by the long-running Radar Brothers, the project led by Jim Putnam and completed with bassist Be Hussey, drummer Stevie Treichel, guitarist (formerly of The Broken West) Dan Iead and piano player Brian Cleary. They were a week out from the release of their sixth album, The Illustrated Garden, and they were randomly joined in the studio by members of the bands Hopewell and Mercury Rev, to fill out the sound at Big Orange. There was plenty of alcohol still around, as the Pabst fridge was abundantly stocked and the great wall of beer cans was stacked to the roof still. Prior to the recording of Horses Warriors, you can hear the fellas pouring themselves another drink actually, who are we kidding, swigging it directly from the bottle. They called it, A shot of the goods, and it really seemed to work for them, and likely always does work for Putnam, whos made a habit of writing and recording some of the best mountain man/back porch fooling around and drinking music in recent memory. It speaks to the part of every man that just wants to get caught up in an afternoon of hanging out with the boys, having all of the beer and amber stuff to themselves and shooting the shit about the crazy stories of the past month, via guitar playing and song. It speaks to every man that just wants to go hippie and grow a beard forever. On the song, Chickens, from the new record, Putnam sings about a warm and lovely night, adding, So we walked down to the river/You asked me what kind of birds they were, again/I told you I didnt remember/Then the water came and washed them all away and then you took my hand for a dance/Dont you know theyre all just chickens anyway/So we wash the blood from our hands. There are many moments of pristine days and the tales that work their ways into those nice ones. There are many moments where were allowed to forget about where we are at the time and just soak ourselves in smoke and a buzz, escape from all of the necessary evils and time suckers. Theres a lot of nostalgic bliss in Putnams folky words talk of sitting down to enjoy a picture show and such and it reminds us of times when everyone smoked, dressed well and had to work hard for every dollar earned, when kicking back with some homemade apple pie, pork chops from the grill, grandmas potato salad and a 12-pack was contentment of the highest sort.